By the time I had reached the age of 37, I had moved a dozen times in my life. A part of that was because my dad was a traveling salesman and he would often be transferred from one place to another. That is one reason I had not lived in any one home up more than seven years. I pretty much took moving in stride as it happened so often. Then my family moved into a large two-story, four bedroom home where we lived for the next 28 years. As you can imagine, we were pretty much settled in by the time I accepted the call to Crown of Life and moved again. It was not only a bit of a culture shock to move from the Midwest to Florida in July, but just the chore of moving after all those years in one place was overwhelming. Needless to say, we had to do some major downsizing.
Now again we are on the move to a new rental home here in Fort Myers and more downsizing (that’s good!). But I am not just telling you a little about my life history. My life is somewhat unusual in the sense that I have never lived in a home that I have personally owned. It’s either been homes my parents owned, the schools I attended, or homes provided by the congregations I have served. Even now, we will only be renting.
But that reminds me of some people in the Bible. In Hebrews, chapter 11, we hear of a number of people who lived “by faith”. Many of them lived in tents most of their lives and had no permanent place of residence. They traveled from place to place wherever the Lord would lead them. This is what the inspired writer says about them: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
Whether we own our own homes or not, every believer in Jesus is an “alien and stranger” on this earth. We have no permanent home. And that’s because we too are “longing for a better country – a heavenly one”. That is the home that Jesus went to prepare for us when He offered Himself as the sacrificial payment for our sins and then rose again in victory to reserve a room for us in His Father’s house in heaven. Our future is secure because Jesus has made it secure for us. When we move on for the last time, it will be to take up permanent (eternal) residence in our real home. But until that time we continue to move on from day to day, home to home, with our eyes fixed on Jesus as our Savior and with lives that seek to live each day for Him in grateful love.
As my wife and I move on, we do so with the words of our wedding verse in mind: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
I’m but a stranger here; Heav’n is my home.
Earth is a desert dreat; Heav’n is my home.
Danger and sorrow stand Round me on ev’ry hand.
Heav’n is my fatherland; Heav’n is my home. (Hymn 417, v. 1)
Pastor William Balza